Thursday, October 27, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
This to me is the pivotal phrase in Werner Herzog's documentary film "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" about the Chauvet cave where the oldest known cave paintings have been found. I will not speak of the film's creative merits (tremendous as they are), or the technical merits (a better application of 3D technology I cannot think of), or its philosophical meaning (ponderous and intrusive as it may be). Instead I found myself thinking of what it means to live inside and outside of history.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The Kobo eReader is a robust ebook reader in a mid-price range, with a large number of features, and the following specifications:
|Available Colors|| |
Lilac, Blue, Silver and Black
|Processor||Freescale 508 Processor|
|Device Size||114mm X 165mm (4.5 in. X 6.5 in.)|
|Device Depth||10mm (0.4 in.)|
|Weight||185g (6.5 oz.)|
|Diagonal Display Size||6" Pearl high contrast E Ink display|
|Screen Grey-Scale||16 Level|
|Memory Expansion||Up to 30,000 eBooks with a 32 GB SD Memory Card|
|Connectivity||USB, Wi Fi|
|Battery Life||1 month**|
|Supported File Formats||Books: EPUB, PDF and MOBI |
Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF
Text: TXT, HTML and RTF
Comic Books: CBZ and CBR
|Pre-Loaded eBooks||15 Hand-Selected Free Previews|
|Fonts||7 Font Styles, 17 Available Sizes|
|Software||New & Improved Free Kobo Desktop Software|
- Kobo eReader Touch is very light, the screen is just big enough, and the interface is simple. Reading it on a bus or subway is a breeze, and flipping pages is much easier than on older eReaders thanks to touch technology.
- The Touch feature is nice and it allows for a greater freedom when manipulating text. The touch keyboard is responsive and easy to use
- Kobo eReader Touch supports not just the standard ePub e-book format, but also MOBI (Kindle format), PDFs, TXT, HTML, and CBZ and CBR (comic book formats) in addition to all the standard picture formats. I found that although the screen is black-and-white only (obviously), the comic book formats and PDF files nonetheless have a high picture quality and very readable.
- The Kobo eReader has wi-fi that can be used not just to browse ebook stores, but also to surf the internet. That's right, the eReader has a fully functional browser that's strongly reminiscent of Google Chrome. It's a beta version, but I found it useful enough despite some drawbacks (more on them later)
- The Kobo eReader also supports 7 fonts and 17 different sizes and additional fonts and sizes can also be downloaded. That's very handy for reading webpages, PDFs, etc. The default font, however, is quite readable.
- Adding books to the eReader is a breeze - just drag and drop, OR if you connect the eReader to your home network you can access your computer's directory and add books to the reader using its own interface.
- The browser is nice to have, but currently very very slow. The touch technology is not as highly responsive as (say) Google Nexus S or iPhone, but it practically stutters in the browser.
- The Kobo eReader is supposed to be able to read MOBI (Kindle format) books, however, when I loaded around 200 books in MOBI format most of them did not display correctly, most of the text being replaced by gibberish. That was annoying and disheartening. I thought at first that maybe it's because I pirated the books and tried free MOBI books offered by Kindle store and Gutenberg project, but encountered similar problem. I've as yet not found a solution, and Kobo website has not offered one either. That's very annoying, so for now I'm limited to books in TXT, ePub, and PDF formats.
- The battery life is adequate for several days of continuous reading, but as soon as wi-fi is turned on the battery life drops precipitously. Furthermore, the eReader only comes with a USB wire thus requiring a computer for recharging. You can buy a Kobo power outlet adaptor, or use a generic micro-USB-to-USB power outlet adaptor (which is what I ended up using).
The Kobo eReader is a robust and enjoyable eReader that provided me with excellent reading experience, and the browser was actually a life-saver at one point. It's light, easy to use, easy to scroll pages, displays a lot of different formats, and the battery life is adequate. Its puzzling inability to display books in MOBI format is a big fly in the ointments, but for its price the Kobo eReader just might be the best ereader in its range.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Lasagna is one dish that I have been intimidated of cooking since time immemorial. No more I say! Thanks to chef Michael Smith's excellent recipe, homemade lasagna is easy to make. It's an extremely tasty recipe, the only downsides being that it's rather expensive to make, and messy as well. Without further ado - the Speedy Lasagna!
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1x28 ounce can tomatoes, crushed or pureed
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 cups beef stock
- 3 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup 35% cream
- 475 grams (1 pound) ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 box of ready-to-bake lasagna noodles
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil in a large saucepot and add the onions.
- Sauté until they soften and turn golden brown, about 5 minutes, and then add the garlic.
- Sauté a few moments more then add the ground beef and sausage meat.
- Chop the meats thoroughly with a spoon to break them up into small pieces.
- Add the tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, beef stock, oregano, basil, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
- Stir well and heat until the entire mixture is simmering and heated through.
- Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk eggs and cream together, then stir in the cheeses.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Layer the ingredients together in a 9" x 13" x 3" or other baking pan.
- Follow this sequence: a cup or so of sauce, a layer of noodles, half of the cheese sauce, one third of the grated Parmesan, noodle layer, meat sauce layer, noodle layer, remaining cheese sauce, one third of the grated Parmesan, noodle layer, remaining meat sauce, remaining Parmesan.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove foil during last 15 minutes of cooking to allow the top to get golden and crusty.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
The latest horrific terrorist act in the Domodedovo Airport in Moscow ought to be a clarion call for Putin and Co. to finally resign. Let's perform a simple thought experiment. What if the September 2011 World Trade Centre attack was followed by a continuous and expanding wave of terrorist acts on U.S. soil? What if it was followed by attacks on Broadway theatres, on schools in the Midwest, on high-rise apartments in Chicago, on subway in Los Angeles? What if, despite pouring many billions into new anti-terrorism agencies, new anti-terrorism legislation, fresh campaign promises to fight anti-terrorism, and so on, the wave of terror only grew? How long would Bush's regime have survived before being forced to resign in the wave of public outrage?
Prime Minister Putin's mandate when he was Russia's president between 2000 and 2008 was stability: both economic and physical. His promise to: “Drown the responsible in an outhouse” back in 2000 brought him to power and bought him 11 years of uninterrupted rule. And yet over that time the number of terrorist acts on Russian soil grew from 130 attacks per year in 2000 to 750 attacks per year in 2009. During that same time the federal budget for anti-terrorism and law enforcement grew from $2.8 billion in 2000 to $31.3 billion in 2009. At every step Putin and his closest supporters used each major terrorist act to slowly erode what was remaining of democracy in Russia. The horrific murder of children and teachers in Beslan was the pretext for cancelling free elections of provincial governors, the failed attempt to rescue hostages during the attack on Dubrovka theatre in Moscow was the pretext to pass censorship laws to bring Russian TV stations under government control, and so on.
The Domodedovo attack underscores the need for both Russian people and Western states to rethink their relationship with Putin's regime. Regardless of how much more 'humane' President Medvedev may appear than Putin, there are no illusions as to who is really in control of Russia. Putin's regime must answer for its abuse of civil liberties and due course of law, its failed policies in the Caucasus region that are directly responsible both for the escalation of terror and murder of hundreds of civilians, its repeated attempts to get rid of free speech vis-a-vis censorship laws and murders and attacks on Russian journalists, and the staggering growth of economic corruption that has placed Russia in the 154th spot on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010 (that's up unprecedented 82 spots since Putin became president in 2000). While the terrorist attack on Moscow's largest airport is inexcusable, horrific, and evil, Russians and Western leaders must realize that lasting solution to this kind of violence does not lie with Putin and his clique. If Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev truly have Russia's best interests and commitment to democracy at heart, they should resign immediately.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Brief snatches of the hidden sun.
White nothing stretches on ahead
Dead orchards stand waiting for spring
What I can hear is a snippet of another life
Their parties, jobs, and worries are sparrows
Lost and huddled in the plunging of singular warmth
Through tusks and beards of the winter forest.